Iain Bevan, Commercial Manager – Heating & Renewables at eco-technology brand Daikin UK, discusses the changes heading our way with regards to heating our homes and how those working in construction can prepare for the future, now.
A significant 15 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our housing stock as a result of oil and gas usage for heating and hot water. As we move towards a greener future, there’s little surprise then that fossil fuel boilers top the government’s blacklist.
Driving low-carbon change
While the shift towards low-carbon heating has been steadily gaining momentum in recent years, the latest government funding initiative and updates to building regulation have acted as a catalyst for significant change.
In January, the government announced its first plans under the Future Homes Standard, which includes a ban on gas boilers in new build homes. Alongside uplifts in the energy efficiency requirements of other fabrication materials, the move is expected to see the average home produce around 75 per cent less CO2 emissions than one built to current standards.
To help prepare for the for new regulations, there are also plans to introduce an interim uplift in the current Part L building standards by 2022. This aims to result in a 31 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and takes advantage of carbon-saving technology such as renewable heating, as well as ensuring an increase in fabric standards.
But this is only the beginning. Further consultations on the Future Homes Standard are underway and additional regulations on low carbon heating will be set for existing homes and commercial buildings.
The impact of more funding
Another significant factor in scaling up the installation of renewable heating systems has been the introduction of the Green Homes Grant scheme. The scheme, which offers homeowners up to £5,000 to make eco-friendly changes to their homes and £10,000 for lower income households, has seen a huge registering of interest since launch.
In fact, over 100,000 people have applied for a GHG voucher to fund their eco-home improvements since the scheme launched in September 2020. And, while there have been recent cuts to the original sum earmarked for GHG funding, and widely reported challenges surrounding the availability of installers, and the issuing of vouchers, the scheme has demonstrated serious appetite from homeowners to make sustainable changes to their homes.
This is something mirrored in recent research we carried out with 2,000 homeowners that found eight in ten were planning to make their home more energy efficient in the next 12 months.
It’s not just the availability of funding that is driving homeowner interest, low carbon heating solutions bring many benefits. For example, an efficient heat pump can save the average UK household up to £378 on heating bills each year compared with a gas boiler, and up to £476 compared with an oil boiler.
As knowledge of the benefits of low carbon heating solutions continues to grow, and with new funding initiatives such as the Clean Heat Grant due to be revealed in 2021, the demand for this technology is only going to increase.
It is those in construction that will play a central role in the move towards energy efficient home heating by ensuring they are meeting building regulations, alongside helping homeowners to understand the best eco-heating systems and funding available to them.
So, what do you need to do now to ensure you’re at the forefront of the move to low carbon heating?
Knowledge is key
As the expert in your field, you hold great influence when discussing heating options and the benefits that customers can enjoy by investing in sustainable heating technology. Along with the funding options, knowing the technology inside out will make it easier to discuss the best solutions with customers.
While there are a growing number of solutions on the market, heat pumps remain the most versatile and reliable technology available. Plus, it’s supported by the government with the goal of installing 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028.
There are a number of different types of heat pumps – air, ground or water source – and they all work by extracting energy from one place and transferring it into the home.
Air source heat pumps are particularly efficient and one of the more cost-effective heat pump technologies to install. A typical air source heat pump will produce 45 per cent fewer carbon emissions compared to a gas boiler, and 59 per cent fewer than an oil boiler – a reduction of up to 43.5 tonnes of carbon emissions over the system’s typical 15-year life span per home.
An additional benefit of air source heat pumps is the variety of options available. The high temperature heat pumps, such as the Daikin Altherma, deliver water temperatures of up to 70°C, making them fully compatible with older radiators that require a higher temperature flow, which means there’s no need to replace existing radiators.
Whether it’s for a luxury new build offering sleek design and smart technology, or a practical option to fit with a more traditional heating set-up, heat pump technology provides flexibility and easy installation while still delivering significant energy and cost savings for the homeowner.
At Daikin, we recognise the enormity of the task we face in ensuring those in construction have access to the right resources and training to help them gain the knowledge they need to meet demand as the installation of heat pumps scales up.
That’s why we provide free training as part of our Sustainable Home Network to those that want to install heat pumps. And we’re also opening a number of Sustainable Home Centres with partners across the UK to provide information, training and an opportunity for homeowners to also learn about the technology in person.
For those in construction, bolstering your knowledge of the upcoming changes and the right heating solutions will be key in future-proofing the UK’s housing stock – and also your business, as we move towards a greener future.
For more information on how heat pumps work go to https://www.daikin.co.uk/en_gb/area-of-expertise/heating-and-heat-pumps.html
For more information on the Sustainable Home Network visit https://www.daikin.co.uk/en_gb/installers/partner-programmes/domestic-installers/sustainable-home-network.html